Summertime and the living is easy...and hotter.
Shorts are dress-up wear - and maybe the only appropriate wear - in Florida in Summer.
So I thought it would be nice to try some on....shorts that is…from the Beach Bistro's 32 years.
Annette has been with the Bistro family since its inception. Years ago a patron enquired of Annette...”What is the difference between the Scampis and the Scallops...?”
JP was presiding over the Dining room and had just served a beautifully prepared and presented Rack of Domestic Lamb....the best lamb in the world.
The gentleman patron leaned back in his chair...spread his hands as if in sacramental pose and proclaimed...
"I wonder what the poor people are doing tonight...?”
"We are waiting on you sir."
Steve Carini was the wait staff’s senior player.
He was very caring and attentive to two elderly lady patrons.
They became sufficiently enamoured of him to ask …"You are such a good waiter young man. Is it your ambition to own your own restaurant some day?”
Steve smiled and replied...
"No M'am. It is my ambition to stop working in this one."
On Steve’s last night, while opening the last bottle of wine he would open as a waiter, his corkscrew of twenty years broke off at the screw.
Just like that Steve was a retired warrior with a broken sword.
A young man with his ambition accomplished.
My favorite bartender in the whole world…?
I know some incredible bartenders. Fred and Brianna at Beach Bistro and Chris and Kaleigh at the Doctor’s Office but one day in Philly my favorite was working at the Black Bass.
I was early for a reservation at a pretentious place down the street. To kill time I sat at the bar and ordered some oysters and a glass of Sancerre.
The bartender opened with… “Where are you from….?"
Almost all bartenders open with. “Where are you from?”
Gets patrons talking about themselves and asks a question they know the answer to.
“I am from Anna Maria Island.”… I said
“Really,,,?” he said.
“My favorite restaurant in the whole world is on Anna Maria Island.”
All my senses tuned to high alert.
“And what restaurant would that be...?” I asked.
“A little place called the Beach Bistro.” he said.
“Well,” I said. “You just became my favorite bartender in the whole world.”
Last week I got a new favorite travel writer. Jan Tuckwood was writing for the Palm Beach Post, one of the Florida’s top newspapers.
Jan wrote that her favorite restaurant was the Beach Bistro, and that it was “the best restaurant in the state.”
She also loved the island's new bar - the Doctor’s Office.
Of The Doctor’s Office she wrote that it was “the cure for your old dull self”.
Sounds like a good way to start a hot summer.
Sean Murphy is the Head Coach of the incredibly talented team that runs the Beach Bistro, it’s little sister Eat Here, and their new craft cocktail bar, The Doctor’s Office.
Sean Murphy, Beach Bistro - as syndicated to the AMI SUN
Canada's two greatest exports have a shared heritage.
I am talking Poutine and Hockey.
They both came from rinks.
I was born in Canada and lived there a good chunk of my life.
That means that I can say outrageous things about Canada and get away with it.
It is like being Donald Trump. I can't be held accountable for what I say.
Poutine is basically French fries and gravy. The curd part is a variation from rural Quebec where they did not know how to get rid of curds.
Fries-n-gravy was a Canadian staple. It was hot and cheap and could be prepared anywhere there was an old stove. It was cold a lot so we didn't need much in the way of refrigeration.
We all know Canucks are crazy for hockey. As kids growing up we spent hours every day in hockey rinks. When we weren't playing on the ice we were playing in the corners with pop cans and tennis balls.
We lived in rinks.
We smelled like rinks.
Grownups called us “rink rats”.
These rinks were nothing like the Lightning palaces that Americans attend to watch NHL games.
These rinks were just big frozen tin cans. Some had outside toilets. They didn't stink until they thawed out in the spring.
Every rink had a “canteen”. The "canteen" in the rink consisted of an old stove and a kettle.
The kettle was for tea. Canadians love tea. They love drinking tea while watching hockey.
The stove was for poutine. It generally had an oven and one or two working burners on top.
The fries were dumped on a sheet tray and cooked in the oven.
The gravy was generally Franco-American Beef Gravy that was heated in a pot on top of the stove.
One of the rink ladies scooped the oven fries into a paper cup and slopped some of the gravy on top. And that was poutine.
Fries-n-gravy was a big chunk of the menu for high school kids.
Across from my high school, St Patrick's High School, (Catlick), there was a greasy spoon diner that sold a ton of "fries-n-gravy".
Marie and Flo presided over the lunch counter.
One day my buddy found a hair in his "fries-and-gravy".
He lifted the guilty specimen from his plate and announced to Flo that he had found a hair in his fries.
Flo plucked the gravied tendril from his fork, studied it, and proclaimed…
"It ain't mine. Must be Marie’s".
I used to marvel that the poutine served to me in rinks and honored by Marie with selections from under her hair net could be treated with such gravitas by foodies.
I came to realize that I am grateful for fries-n-gravy.
I could not have survived my misspent youth in rinks and high school without it.
My chef staff and I determined to express that gratitude by creating a helluva poutine for Eat Here.
We needed a phenomenal gravy. Our favorite light bulb went on…Foie Gras.
The best demis and gravies in New Orleans are called “debris” demis because they have bits of debris from the braising pan floating in the gravy. In our Eat Here version the debris is chunks of our pot roast and pieces of Foie Gras.
Because nobody really likes curds we garnish with an aged parmesan.
And that is how you make a helluva poutine.
When I was a snotty-nosed kid clunking around the rink in my rubber boots - hockey stick in one hand and a cup of poutine in the other - I never woulda guessed.
Sean Murphy, Beach Bistro - as syndicated to the AMI SUN